The Latest: Chinese official to brief S. Koreans on Kim trip

The Latest on North Korean diplomacy (all times local):

12:30 p.m.

South Korea's presidential office says a Chinese official is heading to Seoul to brief President Moon Jae-in about the summit this week between North Korea's and China's leaders.

The two-day trip by Chinese State Councilor Yang Jiechi follows talks earlier this week between Kim Jong Un and Xi Jinping. Moon's spokesman Kim Eui-kyeom in a statement on Thursday called it an encouraging sign that Kim expressed firm willingness for dialogue with South Korea and the United States during his visit to Beijing.

North Korea has yet to officially confirm its interest in a summit between Kim and President Donald Trump. The North's official media omitted Kim's reported comments opening dialogue with the United States that were carried in Chinese state media.


10:30 a.m.

The rival Koreas have begun high-level talks to prepare for an April summit between North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and South Korean President Moon Jae-in amid a global diplomatic push to resolve the standoff over the North's nuclear program.

South Korean officials led by Unification Minister Cho Myoung-gyon on Thursday arrived for the talks at the northern side of the Panmunjom border village.

The North's delegation is led by Ri Son Gwon, chairman of an agency that deals with inter-Korean affairs.

The talks follow the summit earlier this week between Kim and Chinese President Xi Jinping in Beijing.

A summit between Kim and President Donald Trump is also anticipated by the end of May.